"What the hell?"2.0 starson by ikudni
Pros: It's much better than onboard once the bugs are figured out...
Cons: It's not worth all the work to get it running properly...
Summary: I bought this as an upgrade from my onboard video for my PC in order to fix the slow downs and choppy video I was experiencing via iTunes and other visually intensive programs. I basically wanted to improve/stretch my PC's performance a little.
I own a 2 MHz Athlon PC, with 1.5 Gigs of RAM and 200 Gigs of hard drive space on a Windows XP (Home) PC. The motherboard has on-board sound and on-board video installed.
I was advised that this card would be a suitable upgrade for my PC as I am not an avid gamer and my needs would only be limited to video (via iTunes and WMP) and digital photography. I save my video gaming for my Playstation.
The card was a steal at approx $39 USD, so I thought with the recommendation from my PC manufacturer and a few cursory positive reviews from Amazon and Tigerdirect, I thought I was home free.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
The card installed easy enough. Shut down the PC, open it up, plug the card into the AGP slot and go! And go!! And go? And go.... sigh.
To be fair, the PC booted up fine and the software updated (slowly) but flawlessly. After that it was cool for a little while until Duh, Duh Doh. SCREENSAVER ATTACKS! Once my high resolution 3D Earth screensaver went live, the monitor would go blank after a few minutes. I thought initially it was my Dell 19" FP1907 flat panel monitor. I check it out and it was okay. I checked a number of settings and concluded that it was a fluke that it wouldn't happen again. Unfortunately, it continued to happen so often that I just uninstalled the screensaver.
Next while watching an anime using Netflix's 'Watch Now' feature the screen repeatedly went blank, perhaps twice during a full length film.
How when I say the screen goes blank, I am experiencing a full fledged crash that can only be resolved via a reboot. The computer is completely unresponsive during one of these crashes.
After this first experience I downloaded some updated drivers that I thought would solve the problem.
I even purchased a PCI heatsink fan to provide additional cooling to the card.
No better luck.
Subsequently, the computer started to crash so often I decided to do a little Googling. Turns out that I was experiencing a common problem. That 'should' have been solved with the software update but failed to do so. After mining for quite some time, I discovered that the issue had to do with the AGP to CPU Bridge in the device manager. I had to change the bridge to PCI to PCI. Yea, I don't get it either but it worked. Unfortunately, most users aren't going to waste the time and energy to find an obscure entry in an obscure message board (no offense to techspot.com) in order to figure it out.
Anyway, after a couple more software tweaks the card is working fine, without any issues, but the issue itself and the hard find for a solution moves me to rate this card as mediocre. I would rate it as poor if the card didn't actually work so well now that the bugs have been raided. But take my advice, do yourself a favor and shop for another card.